While the United States and North Korea go through annual tit-for-tat rhetoric escalations this time of year pretty much annually, this year’s tensions are through the roof, and there is growing reason to believe that the Trump Administration may be about to attack North Korea outright, launching a major military conflict.
The Trump Administration had been threatening to “take care of” the North Korea problem for weeks now, and today is to the point where officials told NBC News that the US is prepared to attack North Korea if they even think North Korea is about to conduct another nuclear weapons test.
That’s a huge escalation, made doubly so because there is actually reason to believe that North Korea is about to conduct another nuclear weapons test. This would be their sixth test, with the previous five showing signs of increasing capability.
Some officials appear to be disputing the report of the US planning such an attack, however, saying that there was no truth in it.
North Korean nuclear tests were previously followed by angry condemnations and threats of more sanctions. That’s kept the Korean War, which began in 1950, from ever really ending, as North Korean offers to negotiate a settlement have been spurned by US officials for years.
Attacking North Korea outright would be something else entirely, and with a US carrier strike group speeding toward the Korean Peninsula, other nations like Russia are expressing growing concern that’s a realistic possibility. If it does happen,, the consequences would be calamitous.
North Korea has been very blunt in their responses to the possibility of a potential attack, insisting they would carry out retaliatory nuclear strikes against US bases in the region, particularly those in South Korea. US officials doubted North Korea’s capability of actually carrying out such a move.
But the White House would be trying to call a very dangerous bluff by attacking and just betting North Korea doesn’t have deliverable nuclear warheads yet. To make matters even worse, North Korea is known to have a massive conventional missile arsenal, which would certainly be in play if the US attacks.
Even before North Korea had a nuclear program, that conventional arsenal was widely feared for having the capability of not only inflicting massive damage and casualties on US bases in South Korea, but having the potential to do devastating amounts of damage to densely populated South Korean cities like Seoul.
In the meantime, President Trump continues to hype the idea that he can “deal with” North Korea whenever he chooses, and having condemned the idea of diplomacy out of hand, seems to be squaring up for a military confrontation, irrespective of the consequences.